On February 22 and 23, the National Association of Floor Covering Technicians (NAFCT) and Unite Floor Training Alliance are hosting the first annual Installation Summit where flooring installers, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers can come together to learn more, network and discuss the disconnect between installers and manufacturers.
After working with manufacturers for over 30 years, Robert Varden, founder, Unite, and owner, Advanced Flooring Technology (AFT), sees a need to facilitate better and more efficient communication between the installer and the manufacturer. “Most installers don’t even know they can call the manufacturer when there’s a problem,” he said.
Sonny Callaham, chairman of the board, NAFCT, and board member for Unite, said NAFCT's and Unite's partnership on this event is based on common goals. “We felt this would be a great way to show the industry that different associations can work together, as opposed to working against each other,” he said.
The goal of The Summit, according to Callaham, is to offer classroom learning along with a trade show and panel discussion “to help attendees get involved with our industry.” Additionally, he stresses the importance of offering a venue in which installers can network with manufacturers to be able to directly ask questions.
The education lineup focuses on a wide range of issues that installers deal with regularly. On the first day, attendees can expect to hear from Dean Craft, principal, ISE Logik, who will speak on the topic of concrete followed by Seth Pevarnik, director of technical services, Ardex, who will cover floor prep on concrete. Lee Phillips, laboratory director, Professional Testing Laboratory, will discuss resilient testing—specifically LVT, SPC, rigid core, as well as adhesive testing.
“I am looking forward to speaking with folks in the trenches about how products they use get tested and developed,” said Phillips. “I am sure I will learn as much from them as they do from me.”
Callaham will lead the ASTM session where his goal is to ensure that attendees have a clear understanding of ASTM standards. “ASTM standards dictate if a complaint is an actual claim or if it is site or installation related,” said Callaham. “It is imperative to understand what these standards say and adhere to their guidelines in order to minimize liability.”
Day two will start with a presentation from Scott Banda, co-founder and CEO, Floorcloud. He will review the benefits that Floorcloud’s jobsite monitoring technology has to offer and how it can help protect flooring installers and contractors.
Varden cites the need for more skilled installers who can seam high-end hand-loomed, hand-woven carpets as the reason for including a carpet seaming session, which he is leading. He points to the influx of high-end broadloom products manufactured by companies like Masland and Stanton over the last few years and the lack of installers who are skilled enough to meet the demands.
In his session, he will focus on the various processes required to install these products. He plans to prep the materials beforehand to allow enough time to work with each carpet type. “My goal is to, in about 15 minutes, walk through the steps and the procedures on how to work with that product so that I can fit four or five of these products in a one-hour session,” said Varden.
Lew Migliore, president of LGM and Associates, and a Unite board member, plans to cover a wide range of topics related to substrate and flooring failures, including product overselling, misspecification, lack of product knowledge, lack of installation knowledge, improper maintenance, product defects and product misapplication.
Taylor Adhesives’ Gary Sheidker, director of technical services, will close out the day, covering specific issues related to adhesives from his experience in the field. He will review the cause and effect of each issue, providing ways to avoid and correct the problems.
The "Bridging the Gap Between Installers and Manufacturers” panel discussion takes place Friday afternoon, and according to Callaham, this is what he is most excited about. “We will be discussing some of the disconnects between installers, contractors, dealers and manufacturers, including, training, certifications, job readiness and complaints.”
The panel discussion is open to everyone and free to attend. “We need everyone's input to make this work,” said Callaham.
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